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REDCap: Project Purpose

Project_Purpose_Practice Project_Purpose_Operational_Support Research Icon Project_Purpose_Quality_Improvement Project_Purpose_Other
Practice/ Just for Fun
Testing project
Operational Support
Tracking & monitoring
IRB approved project
Quality Improvement
Performance improvement
Copy or backup

Selecting the Purpose of a Project

When creating your project, one of the first things you will do is select the purpose of your project. The purpose allows you to indicate what the project will be used for. There are five types of purposes to choose from for your project and they are described in more detail below. Even after a project is created you can still revise the purpose of your project, if you have Project Design and Setup rights, by going to the Project Setup tab > Modify project title, purpose, etc.

Project Purpose
List of available Project Purpose Types

SMPH REDCap administrators rely on this information for tracking and quality assurance purposes. Periodically administrators will review projects to ensure that the appropriate purpose is selected and that the project status is accurate. Project owners may be contacted with a recommendation to update the purpose or the status of a project. More information about project statuses can be found here: Project Statuses and Project Life Cycle.

All users must abide by the following REDCap policies relating to project purposes and statuses to continuing using the system.

  • Projects that have had no activity for 2 or more years should be moved to Analysis/Cleanup or Complete.  Practice projects should be Deleted rather than analysis/cleanup since they should only contain test data.
  • Projects that have more than 30 records, are listed in Development status and are Research, Operational Support or Quality Improvement projects should be moved to Production status. Once REAL data is entered into a project you must move it to Production status.

Project Purposes:

Practice / Just for Fun

Use this project purpose when creating a project for testing, practicing or playing around to help users become familiar with REDCap. These projects should NOT contain real data. This type of project does not need to be moved to Production status and can stay in Development.

Operational Support

This project purpose should be used for projects that track or monitor specific processes within a department or organization. This can include management of an organization, support tracking, managing requests, and more. Once you begin collecting real data, these projects should be moved to Production status.


Any project that is used to store data for an IRB approved research study should list the project purpose as research. Make sure to include the Principal Investigator's name and IRB number. You will then need to specify the type of research from the categories listed and you may select more than one. Use the 'Other' option if your research project does not fit into the provided categories.

Example questions for Research Project purpose

If you need to make a copy or backup of your Research project, please update the Purpose to "Other" or "Research-Other". More information about these types of projects are listed below in the Other section.

Quality Improvement

Use this purpose for projects that help with organizational goals and facilitating performance improvement. This may include projects such as evaluation surveys and suggestion forms.


Projects that are being used as backups or copies and contain REAL data should list the purpose as Other and then specify its use. REDCap administrators need to be able to differentiate real projects from backups, copies and test projects. Test projects with fake/test data should use the Practice/Just for Fun purpose category listed above.

REDCap administrators actually recommend backing up your data offline rather than keeping a copy or backup of your project within REDCap. Using the Data Export rights, a user can download their full data set and store it on a secure computer. If needed, that data can then be uploaded into your project at a later time.

  1. Add "Backup" or "Copy" to the project title to help your team identify the project from the real one.
  2. Select "Other" as the purpose of the project. For a Research project, you may use the "Research-Other" option only if the actual research data is still within a project that is being used as a backup. If it contains fake/test data, then please use the "Other" purpose option.
  3. Under 'Please Specify', enter the reason or type of project as Backup or Copy.
  4. Add any additional notes in the Project notes field.
Purpose Other_Screenshot
Other as a project purpose requires extra information.  Typically used for Backup projects.

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KeywordsREDCap, Purpose, Purposes, Research, Operation Support, Practice, Fun, Quality Improvement, QI, backup, copy   Doc ID103221
OwnerAmy S.GroupSMPH Research Informatics
Created2020-06-19 14:36:35Updated2024-03-20 09:59:05
SitesInstitute for Clinical and Translational Research, SMPH Research Informatics
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